Battle of Castalla (1812)
In the Battle of Castalla a small Spanish army commanded by Joseph ODonnell advanced to attack an Imperial French division under the leadership of Jean Isidore Harispe. ODonnells battle plan was conceived and the outnumbered French smashed his center column before his right. The engagement occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars, the battle was fought near Castalla,32 kilometres north-west of Alicante, Spain. In the successful Siege of Valencia and subsidiary operations, Marshal Louis Gabriel Suchets French army conquered much of the province of Valencia, to the south, the Spanish Army of Murcia regrouped in an attempt to halt further French advances. On 16 January 1812, the Spanish defeated an attempt by General of Division Louis-Pierre Montbrun and 5,500 French soldiers to seize their base at Alicante. Ignoring Wellingtons advice, ODonnell formed his 11, 000-strong army into three attack columns designed to envelop one of General of Division Jean Isidore Harispes brigades, abandoning the town of Castalla, Colonel Jacques-Antoine-Adrien Delort drew up his soldiers on a nearby ridge.
As ODonnells three center brigades probed the position, the French 24th Dragoon regiment unexpectedly arrived on the battlefield, the French cavalry and infantry killed or wounded 1,000 Spanish soldiers and rounded up 2,135 prisoners. The Spanish right and left columns made such wide circuits of the battlefield that the fighting was over before they could influence the result, when Maitland landed he found the Army of Murcia in no shape to conduct operations for several months. The day after Castalla, Wellington won a victory over the French at Salamanca. A History of the Peninsular War Volume V. Oxford, Clarendon Press
Battle of Manresa (1810)
Caros division first surprised the town of Vilafranca del Penedès in March and captured its 800-man garrison made up of troops from the Confederation of the Rhine. Vilafranca is located 35 kilometres west of Barcelona, the Spanish troops remained at large and fell upon the town of Manresa at the beginning of April. After several days of sparring they drove Schwarz and his German soldiers out of the town with heavy losses, caro was wounded on 2 April and was replaced by Campoverde. The Spanish force included 2,000 regulars,2,300 local miquelets and this minor disaster caused Marshal Pierre Augereau to call off Imperial troops which were threatening Tarragona. Schwarzs brigade belonged to Marie François Rouyers division while Caros division was part of Henry ODonnells Army of Catalonia, Manresa is located 40 kilometres northwest of Barcelona. The actions occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars, the Spanish Ulcer, A History of the Peninsular War. A History of the Peninsular War Volume III
Third Siege of Girona
The Third Siege of Girona refers to the French Grande Armées seven-month siege of Girona, from 6 May to 12 December 1809, a significant event in the Peninsular War. Alvarez left Barcelona and joined the Spanish rebels against French rule, the Spanish Government in Cadiz named him commander of the Army of Catalonia and Governor of Girona, a city with a garrison of between 3, 400–5,600 regular troops belonging to the Ultonia Regiment. Taking command of the city on 1 February 1809, he immediately started preparing its defence. On 1 April, he proclaimed his famous edict, to the effect if the city were attacked. On 3 May, arms were distributed to 1717 volunteers, on 12 June, Alvarez rejected the terms of truce offered, and General Saint-Cyr ordered bombardment to commence after midnight 13–14 June. Towards the end of September, General Saint-Cyr left his command, angered by the fact he was to be replaced as the head of the French and he left the troops without an overall commander for several days, in clear disobedience of orders received in June.
Two days later, on 12 December, the town capitulated and it is estimated that some 10,000 people died inside. French losses were approximately 15,000, over half of those to disease, owing to the long delays and heavy losses suffered by the French, the towns resistance served Spanish purposes. The battle became something of a legend over the course of Spains war of independence, and Alvarez himself, voluntarios de Aragón, Copy of Alvarezs 1 April 1809 edict
Battle of Montserrat
The minor action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was fought near the Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery, suchets successful Siege of Tarragona wiped out the bulk of the Spanish regular forces in northeast Spain. Overlooking the road, the base of Montserrat had defied the French after three years of war. Suchet sent the soldiers of Louis Jean Nicolas Abbés brigade scrambling up one track while his remaining troops watched other possible escape routes. The French overran the base and seized its artillery but most of the Spanish irregulars evaded capture. Suchet installed an Italian garrison on the mountain, but after the capture of Cervera in mid-October by Luis Roberto de Lacys Spanish forces, on 15 July 1811, Marshal Suchet reported 43,783 troops present for duty in the Army of Aragon. Including the men sick or on detached service, the total was 51,088, a History of the Peninsular War Volume IV
Catalonia is an autonomous community of Spain, located on the northeastern extremity of the Iberian Peninsula. It is designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy, Catalonia consists of four provinces, Girona and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second-most populated municipality in Spain, Catalonia comprises most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia. It is bordered by France and Andorra to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, the official languages are Catalan and the Aranese dialect of Occitan. The eastern counties of these marches were united under the rule of the Frankish vassal the Count of Barcelona, in the Middle Ages Catalan literature flourished. Between 1469 and 1516, the King of Aragon and the Queen of Castile married and ruled their kingdoms together, retaining all their distinct institutions and constitutions. During the Franco-Spanish War, Catalonia revolted against a large and burdensome presence of the Royal army in its territory, within a brief period France took full control of Catalonia, at a high economic cost for Catalonia, until it was largely reconquered by the Spanish army.
In the nineteenth century, Catalonia was severely affected by the Napoleonic, in the second half of the century Catalonia experienced industrialisation. As wealth from the industrial expansion grew, Catalonia saw a cultural renaissance coupled with incipient nationalism while several workers movements appeared. In 1914, the four Catalan provinces formed a Commonwealth, and with the return of democracy during the Second Spanish Republic, after the Spanish Civil War, the Francoist dictatorship enacted repressive measures, abolishing Catalan institutions and banning the official use of the Catalan language again. Since the Spanish transition to democracy, Catalonia has regained some political and cultural autonomy and is now one of the most economically dynamic communities of Spain, the origin of the name Catalunya is subject to diverse interpretations because of a lack of evidence. During the Middle Ages, Byzantine chroniclers claimed that Catalania derives from the medley of Goths with Alans.
Other less plausible theories suggest, Catalunya derives from the land of castles, having evolved from the term castlà or castlan. This theory therefore suggests that the names Catalunya and Castile have a common root, the source is of Celtic origin, meaning chiefs of battle. Although the area is not known to have been occupied by Celts, the Lacetani, an Iberian tribe that lived in the area and whose name, due to the Roman influence, could have evolved by metathesis to Katelans and Catalans. In English, Catalonia is pronounced /kætəˈloʊniə/, the native name, Catalunya, is pronounced in Central Catalan, the most widely spoken variety whose pronunciation is considered standard. The Spanish name is Cataluña, and the Aranese name is Catalonha, the first known human settlements in what is now Catalonia were at the beginning of the Middle Palaeolithic. From the next era, the Epipaleolithic or Mesolithic, important remains survive
Battle of Saguntum
The Battle of Saguntum on 25 October 1811 saw the French Army of Aragon under Marshal Louis Gabriel Suchet fighting a Spanish army led by Lieutenant General Joaquín Blake y Joyes. The Spanish attempt to raise the siege of the Sagunto Castle failed when the French, the action took place during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The city lies a short distance from the east coast of Spain, Suchet invaded the province of Valencia in September 1811. He tried to seize the Sagunto Castle, but its garrison repulsed two attacks and the French-Allied army was forced to lay siege to the ancient fortress. When Blakes army advanced from Valencia, Suchet posted his army to resist the Spanish. Blakes attack on Suchets right flank went awry and soon the poorly trained Spanish troops were fleeing, the Spanish troops attacking Suchets left flank were made of sterner stuff and the contest there was more severe. Finally, the French-Allied troops gained the hand and put the entire Spanish army to flight.
Blakes soldiers limped back to Valencia where they tried to put that citys defences in order, Spanish losses numbered 6,000 killed and wounded, plus several hundred prisoners, some cannons, and four colors. Suchet lost only 1,000 killed and wounded, but apart from the seizing the castle and his army was too small to capture Valencia, especially after his battle losses at Castle Saguntum and the need to garrison the captured castle with French troops. For several weeks the French-Allies paused to wait for reinforcements before launching the next phase of their offensive, the Spanish Ulcer, A History of the Peninsular War. ISBN 0-7126-9730-6 Ojala, Jeanne A. Suchet, The Peninsular Marshal
Battle of La Bisbal
The Imperial troops were from the Confederation of the Rhine, a collection of small German states that were allied to Napoleon. Part of a division led by Marie François Rouyer, Schwarzs brigade was almost completely wiped out, one of the few Allied casualties was the capable ODonnell, wounded in the foot. The battle occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars, the action occurred amid the events leading up to the Siege of Tortosa in December 1810 and January 1811. As Louis Gabriel Suchet prepared to attack Tortosa, Marshal Jacques MacDonald was ordered to support him, the marshal cooperated by advancing into southern Catalonia with a large force. To distract MacDonald from his mission, ODonnell determined to raid northern Catalonia, the raid was a brilliant tactical success but it failed to deter the marshal from assisting Suchet. Finally, a logistical crisis forced MacDonald to withdraw to northern Catalonia, in June 1810, Marshal Pierre Augereau was replaced in command of VII Corps by Marshal Jacques MacDonald.
MacDonald was instructed to drive toward Tarragona while his colleague General of Division Louis Gabriel Suchet was to lead the III Corps to capture Tortosa, Suchets corps had successfully concluded the Siege of Lerida on 13 May and the Siege of Mequinenza on 5 June. Located on the Ebro River, Tortosa lay on the highway between the provinces of Catalonia and Valencia. By seizing the city, Napoleon hoped to sever the link between the two areas, before Suchet could implement the plan, he was compelled to return to Aragon to suppress the guerillas. He first needed to restock his empty depots with supplies from France and it was August before either commander was ready to carry out their emperors strategy. MacDonald marched his army of 16,000 troops south to support Suchets operations against Tortosa. MacDonald left General of Division Louis Baraguey dHilliers with almost 10,000 soldiers to garrison Barcelona, in addition, there were 18,000 troops manning the defenses of other cities and holding open the road to France.
Captain General Henry ODonnell commanded the Spanish Army of Catalonia, seeing that MacDonald was too strong to directly confront, ODonnell resolved to operate against the unsuspecting Imperial forces in the north. By doing so, he hoped to draw MacDonald away from Tarragona, Colonel Charles William Doyle sailed north with 500 foot soldiers aboard the British frigate HMS Cambrian, the Spanish frigate Diana, and other vessels. Captain Francis William Fane of the Cambrian commanded the Allied naval squadron, in early September, ODonnell managed to elude the garrisons of Barcelona and Girona without being noticed. Fanes Anglo-Spanish naval expedition struck first on 10 September, an amphibious force rowed ashore at Begur and captured 50 men and a coastal artillery emplacement. Alerted by this raid, General of Brigade François Xavier de Schwarz ordered his units to beef up their defenses. His brigade comprised two battalions each of the 5th Confederation of the Rhine and 6th Confederation of the Rhine Regiments, the brigade numbered 1,700 men with 18 artillery pieces
The Peninsular War was a military conflict between Napoleons empire and the allied powers of Spain and Portugal, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war started when French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, the Peninsular War overlaps with what the Spanish-speaking world calls the Guerra de la Independencia Española, which began with the Dos de Mayo Uprising on 2 May 1808 and ended on 17 April 1814. The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas, the British Army, under the Lt. Gen. Arthur Wellesley, guarded Portugal and campaigned against the French in Spain alongside the reformed Portuguese army. The demoralised Portuguese army was reorganised and refitted under the command of Gen, in the following year Wellington scored a decisive victory over King Josephs army at Vitoria. The years of fighting in Spain were a burden on Frances Grande Armée. The Spanish armies were beaten and driven to the peripheries.
This drain on French resources led Napoleon, who had provoked a total war. War and revolution against Napoleons occupation led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, the burden of war destroyed the social and economic fabric of Portugal and Spain, and ushered in an era of social turbulence, political instability and economic stagnation. Devastating civil wars between liberal and absolutist factions, led by officers trained in the Peninsular War, persisted in Iberia until 1850. The cumulative crises and disruptions of invasion and restoration led to the independence of most of Spains American colonies, the Treaties of Tilsit, negotiated during a meeting in July 1807 between Emperors Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon, concluded the War of the Fourth Coalition. With Prussia shattered, and Russia allied with France, Napoleon expressed irritation that Portugal was open to trade with the United Kingdom, Prince John of Braganza, regent for his insane mother Queen Maria I, had declined to join the emperors Continental System against British trade.
After a few days, a large force started concentrating at Bayonne, meanwhile the Portuguese governments resolve was stiffening, and shortly afterward Napoleon was once again told that Portugal would not go beyond its original agreements. After he received the Portuguese answer, he ordered Junots corps to cross the frontier into Spain, while all this was going on, the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau had been signed between France and Spain. The document was drawn up by Napoleons marshal of the palace Géraud Duroc and Eugenio Izquierdo, the treaty proposed to carve up Portugal into three entities. Porto and the part was to become the Kingdom of Northern Lusitania. The southern portion, as the Principality of the Algarves, would fall to Godoy, the rump of the country, centered on Lisbon, was to be administered by the French. According to the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Junots invasion force was to be supported by 25,500 men in three Spanish columns, Gen. Taranco and 6,500 troops were ordered to march from Vigo to seize Porto in the north.
Capt. Gen. Solano would advance from Badajoz with 9,500 soldiers to capture Elvas, Gen. Caraffa and 9,500 men were instructed to assemble at Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo, and cooperate with Junots main force
Theodor von Reding
Theodor von Reding was born and raised in Switzerland where he commenced his military career. He served in Spain as a governor and general, leading Swiss and Spanish troops against Napoleonic forces and was admired for his leadership and he was born in Schwyz, the son of the aristocrat Josef Rudolf Reding von Biberegg. His brother was Alois von Reding, governor of Málaga, in July 1808 von Reding fought under General Castaños at the Battle of Bailén, where the 3rd Swiss Regiment Reding fought with conspicuous valour. After that, he was commanded the defense of Catalunya, where he tried to organize the Spanish forces, numerous activities and actions are being carried out currently to honor him. The Historical Recreation Group 3rd Swiss Regiment Reding is one of the biggest events that honor him, nota «El general Reding torna a Tarragona»
Battle of Cervera (1811)
In the Battle of Cervera a Spanish force led by Luis Roberto de Lacy attacked a series of Imperial French garrisons belonging to the VII Corps of Marshal Jacques MacDonald. The actions were successful and netted nearly 1,000 enemy prisoners. The clashes occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars, the largest garrison was located at Cervera which is located about 55 kilometres east of Lleida, Spain. Marshal Louis Gabriel Suchet struck another blow against the Catalans when his troops seized the miquelet base in the Battle of Montserrat on 25 July 1811. The unpopular but vigorous Lacy quickly reorganized the 8, 000-man remnant of his army into three divisions under Generals Baron de Eroles, Pedro Sarsfield, and Francisco Milans del Bosch. With the Royal Navys assistance, Lacy seized the Medes Islands at the mouth of the Ter River on 12 September, on 4 October 1811, Lacys forces captured 200 Imperial troops at Igualada on the highway between Barcelona and Lleida. Continuing west, the Spanish column seized a French convoy near Cervera on the 7th, Lacy overwhelmed the garrison of Cervera on 11 October, bagging another 645 prisoners.
Finally, on the 14th the Spaniards took 150 more captives at Bellpuig, after these defeats, the French evacuated the monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat on Montserrat Mountain. A History of the Peninsular War Volume IV